We’ve all seen the benefits of meditation on the news, in articles, blogs, etc. Reduces stress, chronic pain, helps sleep, eases anxiety, builds mental acuity and other great things. And then we see a picture or in the real world someone meditating and it looks so easy, almost effortless. Until you sit down and try it for the first time. And then the train comes off the tracks. As Jessica Stillman from Inc.com points out, meditation is hard for a lot of people at the start.
Questions invade your mind.. like what posture, am I really this tired, is my timer set, how long should I really be going, what is for dinner tonight, did I send that email. This is all being said not to intimidate you, but rather to let you know that it’s all perfectly normal. What’s even more important is to consider this: if each meditation session were a test, there is no answer key. Ever. That’s the beauty of meditation. You do it to just be. In other words, there is no win-lose proposition here.
It’s a lot easer said than done to just meditate and don’t worry about how you did. So we are going to outline a few things to get you started and going down the right path.
Try some technology.
There are some great tools out there today that can help guide you in your early stages of meditating. Guided meditations from apps like Headspace, Calm and Waking Up are very helpful. Each app has a slightly different approach, so you may want to experiment with one of each at a time. Their monthly costs are very reasonable, about the price of 2-3 cups of coffee. Well worth it if you find something that works for you. There are also more simplistic timers and apps available, like insight timer on the App Store for Android and IOS. You could also go to YouTube and find a guided or music-based meditation; there are thousands of them and they are free. One last suggestion is Audible, as of this blog post is giving away a number of free guided meditations, some from celebrities such as “Honor Yourself” narrated by Diddy.
Find your place.
Sort of like a home office but in a much smaller setting, you can create your meditation space. Grab a comfortable zafu, a rug or blanket, a candle or two, and you’re good to go. The area should be dedicated to your practice, and not in front of your tv or your home office desk. Ideally it is distraction free and a place that you find peaceful and associate with your meditation time.
Dedicate a time.
We suggest first thing in the morning, before you’ve done really anything else. That is a great time to acclimate your mind to the day, where you can wake up a little more and have fewer distractions (hopefully). Give yourself a set amount of time too, so you’re not negotiating with your sub-conscious when you’re meditating or about to start. 10 minutes is a perfect starting number. I’ve talked to people who started with 3 minutes, others with 7 minutes. Your goal when starting should be to establish a repetitive practice, and you will get better just by being consistent and non-judge mental.
That’s it. It’s pretty simple after that. Just start. And be happy with yourself that you did.